plenty of tools exist to help nonprofits do this — including software that can help you keep track of your donors,
find out information about new prospects, capture donations on the go, understand your income and expenses and
software), here are some of the crucial products you should consider for your nonprofit’s toolkit.
where’s the copy of the latest thank-you letter? Who are your biggest prospects, and what steps have you taken to
engage them? A database can help you keep track of the answers to all these questions and more.
available. Many database providers offer training at no additional charge, including in-person training, webinars,
online help, tutorials and videos.
Although Raiser’s Edge (by Blackbaud) is considered by many to be the industry gold standard, other options are
available to suit almost any need and budget.
DonorSnap, with plans ranging from $39 to $199 per month. Medium-sized nonprofits can consider databases like
Bloomerang (from $99 to $499 per month), Salsa (from $299 per month) or eTapestry (about $199 per month). Large
nonprofits should consider using a robust database like Raiser’s Edge, Salesforce or Trailblazer1.
wealth screening software such as iWave, WealthEngine, RelSci, LexisNexis or DonorSearch. Prospect screening
software will provide you with information such as your prospects’ real estate holdings, previous donations,
involvement in boards of other nonprofits, job title, income and connections to other people.
Online are essential tools for finding the right fit between a grantor and your organization.
ranging from small and personal to large and ambitious. Some of the more popular crowdfunding sites are GoFundMe,
Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Patreon. Others, including Rally, Piggybackr, Classy or CrowdRise (part of GoFundMe),
are specifically aimed at nonprofits.
integration, reporting and analytics, recurring donation setup and database integration. Crowdfunding software
tends to work best for raising funds for specific projects or in conjunction with an event. Crowdfunding can help
nonprofits reach a wider audience, but keep a close eye on the fees that crowdfunding sites charge when using them
to solicit donations2.
auction items, purchase raffle tickets and make donations directly from their mobile phones. Popular mobile bidding
software includes Bidpal, 501 Auctions and GiveSmart.
a feature included in that software for mobile bidding. For more information on the role of mobile bidding software
at events, see the chapter “Using Events to Drive Donations.”
anytime, anywhere. Donors can text donations from their mobile phones to a nonprofit at their convenience. Many
text donations are given as part of an event, a specific fundraising campaign or telethon. Some also come in
response to an urgent need (such as disaster relief immediately following a catastrophic event).
Commons, SecureGive, Activistic and Give by Cell. Some crowdfunding or mobile bidding software platforms also offer
a text-to-donate feature.
software to run reports when submitting important tax documents like the IRS Form 990.
small and medium-sized nonprofits can benefit from accounting software. Intuit, a well-known maker of accounting
software, offers QuickBooks accounting software that is ideal for nonprofits. Costs range from $10 to $200 per
month, with various features included at each price point.
Aplos, Zoho Books, Big E-Z and Araize FastFund Accounting3. You can also find numerous free, open-source accounting software options with limited
features, including GnuCash, Invoice Expert, TurboCASH,
SVERDYSH, BS1 General Ledger, VT Cash Book, Adminsoft Accounts, xTuple PostBooks, FrontAccounting and LedgerLite.
design and build your website. There are plenty of low-cost options for designing a website, and you won’t even
need coding experience: Many software options offer “drag-and-drop” features or a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You
WordPress, Wix and Weebly. Many offer all-in-one packages that include web domain registration, hosting and more.
Be sure the web design software you choose will enable you to make your site mobile responsive. For more on the
importance of mobile responsive websites, see the chapter “Moving Your Nonprofit’s Website onto a Mobile Platform.”
offer online or cloud-based options where users don’t have to install the software on their own computers. Software
providers frequently offer tiered options (including free versions of the software) or a monthly fee rather than a
one-time flat fee. Many software makers offer multiple products that integrate with one another.
missing piece. For example, you might have a website platform that won’t allow you to include embedded forms that
accept payment. Rather than moving your entire website to a new platform, you can try a free or low-cost online
form builder. JotForm, for example, allows its users to embed a
donation form on any page of a website and offers a variety of forms to suit users’ needs at various pricing plans
(including a free starter level). For more on creating the best possible web forms, see the chapter “The Anatomy of an Effective Form.”
Nonprofits need to send well-designed, eye-catching emails that will grab a donor’s or prospect’s attention.
people can easily unsubscribe from your email list. You can easily include rich content such as links to donation
pages, embed donation buttons or forms and have people RSVP to events. Popular email marketing software includes
Constant Contact, MailChimp, Emma, Benchmark, iContact, GetResponse and SendinBlue.
many different projects or staff members who work remotely or travel frequently. Programs such as Slack, Asana and
Google’s G-Suite allow you to keep track of multiple projects at once. You can assign projects, track deadlines,
hold group chats, store and share digital files and more.
from donors and prospects. Donors like to see organizations operate with transparency and organizational
efficiency. Your chances of getting new and recurring donations increase through savvy marketing and smart use of
technology that makes it easier for people to donate to your cause.